“My wife knew everything that transpired between me and GRTS,” Mr Sanneh told the magistrates’ court in Banjul on Wednesday. Unfortunately, the wife is no more. She died in 2009.
The TV reporter had his services terminated by the public media in 2006. No reason was stated in his termination letter, but according to GRTS boss and a senior staff, Mr Sanneh was dismissed for ‘bias reportage’ when he was assigned to cover a mass political rally of main opposition-United Democratic Party (UDP) in the run up to the presidential election in 2006.
Sanneh however said his dismissal was wrongful. He was put under trial when he petitioned his former employer to the president’s office on that claim. But he denied any wrongdoing.
Three witnesses have testified for the state, but Mr Sanneh has only his niece to add weight to his side of the story in the court.
When asked by the magistrate whether he has any other witness, he said, his wife could have been his witness, but she is dead and his former co workers are not cooperative.
“Some GRTS staff, who can help me produce evidences are not willing to come to court,” Mr Sanneh testified. And he even fears that his former co workers could turn out to be hostile witnesses.
“The office of the Ombudsman said the law does not allow them to come to court,” he went on to tell the court following which the magistrate ordered the ombudsman to make himself or any representative available during next sittings.
She also made an order for the accused person’s promotion letter as senior producer be produced by GRTS by next proceedings scheduled for September 5.
Testifying earlier was Nyima Drammeh, a niece to Dodou Sanneh, who told the court that his uncle, Mr Sanneh was arrested and detained for seven days when he was called to return to the office whilst he was on assignment in the North Bank of The Gambia.
“Kebba Dibba called my uncle’s mobile phone, but he [Dodou Sanneh] was taken bath at the time,” she narrated. “Kebba told me to ask Dodou to pass by his house.
“When my uncle went, he did not return home that day and when Kebba Dibba was asked my uncle’s whereabouts, he said, he did not know. We later confirmed that my uncle was arrested.”
After Dodou’s release, she added, some GRTS staff came to the house but her uncle was not in at the time. Yet a man handed over a letter to her to give it to her uncle.
“My uncle refused to accept the letter when he returned. He gave me fares to return the letter, which I did,” she said.
“At GRTS, I handed over the letter to Ebrima Baldeh because I could not remember the man who brought the letter.”
According to Nyima, Kebba Dibba urged his uncle to resume work, but to no avail. It was Dodou’s grandfather, who was able to convince him to return to work.
She added that Mr Sanneh resumed work the following Monday only to be sent back home on a 20 day annual leave.
When Mr Sanneh left for his home village in Foni, two men raided his house and took away his documents, including travelling passport. And when his wife informed him about it, he came back the next day.
“The two men did not allow my aunt to call her husband and ordered her to produce the documents. They even shouted at her,” the niece to journalist Sanneh explained.